Monday, February 28, 2011

Peace and joy be with them, harmony and wisdom

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons. Each Sunday, I discuss some things related to my faith and what I believe. Regardless of your own beliefs, I hope this gives you a chance to get to know me and my religion a little better. For previous installments, click here.

 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (AofF 1:11)

One of the privileges of living is getting to know all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. If we all did the same things, thought the same things, and believed the same things, the world would be incredibly boring. Instead, we get to explore, learn, think, and do according to our own convictions.
The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole. - Joseph B. Wirthlin

The key to believing and being whatever we choose is allowing others to do the same.
Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too. - Voltaire
So, believe and live as you see fit, and I will respect that and you. But do take the opportunities you have to learn about other peoples, religions, and ways of life. It may not change your own mind, but it will at least expand it.

Last night, Mormon Choir sang with the Alfred Street Baptist Church Senior Choir and special guest Alex Boyé. In celebration of Black History Month, we sang a selection of spirituals together, celebrating a shared belief of Jesus as our Savior and of a God in heaven. We may not have all believed exactly the same doctrines, but the spirit and joy and music we shared made that concert my personal favorite to date.

I've had similar experiences with people of many other backgrounds and faiths. Finding common ground and respecting the differences has given me wonderful relationships and memories. It takes patience and an open mind, but it's been so worth it.

This is the reason I write these posts every week - to give you another opportunity to know what makes me and others of my faith tick. Thank you for reading and commenting.

And most importantly, thank you for believing what you believe and being the fascinating person you are!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I am a child of God

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons. Each Sunday, I discuss some things related to my faith and what I believe. Regardless of your own beliefs, I hope this gives you a chance to get to know me and my religion a little better. For previous installments, click here.

We abelieve in bGod, the Eternal Father, and in His cSon, Jesus Christ, and in the dHoly Ghost. (AofF 1:1)

There is much discussion in the world about who God is. Or even what. Every major religion has some idea about the notion of God, from the divine within all of us to the Architect of all creation and Father of our souls.  Even The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy weighs in on the subject.

As Mormons, we believe that God is our Supreme Being, Creator, and Ruler. Most importantly, we believe that he is our Father, as we are literally His children, spiritually begotten in our pre-mortal lives.

As our Father, He loves us and is intimately acquainted with our lives, hopes, plans, talents, and everything else. He has given us His divine potential and desires that we return home to Him. He is the Author of the Plan of Salvation, which provides a path for us to do just that. We come to know Him through reading the scriptures, listening to His messengers, and following His word.

Personally, I am grateful to believe in a Heavenly Father who knows us, loves us, and cares for us. For me, it gives me comfort to feel that we aren't just here on Earth by random happenstance.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Are Unstoppable

So, Philadelphia was wonderful. MLA 2011 was a great conference - I participated in some fascinating sessions, ate delicious food, and met several quality fellow music librarians. These are definitely some of my people.

What really helped me do all that is just jumping right in and getting myself involved immediately. Even as a first time attendee (with bright blue ribbon on my nametag announcing it to the world), I am the new Film Music Roundtable Coordinator.  This meant that I led a meeting and attended a couple extra networking events. The people I met just through that were all incredibly supportive and we've brainstormed some interesting ideas about where to go from here.  It was also really encouraging to be regarded on a professional level by the same people who gave me my start back at BYU.  Thank you Myrna and Janet! I also organized a successful tweetup, which led to even more fortuitous meetings.

It helped that I knew a few people beforehand, like my BYU colleagues and members of my regional MLA chapter, since I've been to the past two fall meetings. The latter group even acknowledged that they couldn't believe it was my first time at a national meeting - they were just so impressed by me and felt like I'd been around forever. It's quite a compliment!

I'm so glad I was able to attend this year. I really feel like some promising seeds were planted and I can't wait to see the results!

But first, some more pictures:

Best skirt to wear to a music librarian's conference, awkward picture

A jazz band of musicians from Harvard, playing in the Reading Town Market while I got lunch

The Wanamaker Organ, or at least part of it, built specifically for this Macy's


Sunday Brunch

The rose I was given at the grocery store today, though it has nothing to do with Philly
And, finally, the sounds of the West Philadelphia Orchestra, our entertainment at the closing banquet. They were great fun live!

I'm already looking forward to MLA 2012!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wastin' away on the streets of Philadelphia

Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love!

I'm in Philly for the Music Library Association Annual Meeting for the week, but I drove up a few hours early to do some sight-seeing.  Like a doofus, I left during rush hour, so the drive took me a wee bit longer than I might have liked and I disliked about 75% of the music my iPod wanted me to listen to, but it was still a good drive.

No visit to Philly is complete without a cheesesteak, so I made that my first, thanks to a recommendation from a Twitter friend. I can now agree - Campo's on Market Street is delicious.

So is Franklin Fountain. Nothing is better in 30 degree weather than a refreshing hot fudge sundae.

And how cute is this shop?

Of course, I said hi to the Liberty Bell.

And took a tour of Independence Hall.

It was all I could do not to break into a musical number and tell John to sit down.

Loving this city so far!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tonight's gonna be a good night

My dear friend Xena sometimes reads Tarot for me. Of course, I don't put all my stock in it, but the occasional card pull really speaks to me.

Here's today's (from the Nature deck):

Cattails - spreading seeds

Now is the time to seek out environments that are creative & nourishing for you. Don't hesitate in your creative endeavors & pursuits. Spread as many seeds as possible in as many areas as possible.... Enough of them will take that you'll be amazed at all the success that develops in your life. Now is the time to act! Initiate new endeavors; take new creative approaches. You will find yourself breaking away from old restricting habits.

(BTW - you feel watery/emotional today. Everything is going to be ok - everyONE is going to be ok. Go have a cry; catch your breath; just let it all go. I love you.)

Just what I needed to hear today.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Do What Is Right

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons. Each Sunday, I discuss some things related to my faith and what I believe. Regardless of your own beliefs, I hope this gives you a chance to get to know me and my religion a little better. For previous installments, click here.

We believe in being asubject to bkings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in cobeying, honoring, and sustaining the dlaw. (Article of Faith 12)

The events in Egypt have been weighing on my mind everyday since January 25th, especially since I was just there last year. There's not much more I can personally do than pray and hope for the best, but, incidentally, I've been wearing my scarab necklace since the 23rd. I've kept in on as a sign of solidarity.

So, what does that have to do with Mormonism?

While we follow the laws of God first and foremost, we also believe in following the laws of the land.

“We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society." (D&C 134:1)

We are also encouraged to support our government and country by participating civilly and politically and even in the armed forces if we so choose. And in situations like Egypt where there is open rebellion against the current government? We're free to use our own judgment, just like when we choose political parties.

"We believe that no government can exist in apeace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the bfree exercise of cconscience, the right and control of property, and the dprotection of life." (D&C 134:2)

When the laws and government no longer uphold that standard? It's time for a change.

Laws are truly there to protect our rights and freedoms and to allow others the same privilege. It is our duty as citizens of the world to follow them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hey baby, can you bleed like me?

I started giving blood my freshman year at BYU. They regularly host blood drives in the Wilk (the Wilkinson Student Center), and I'd try to stop by as often as I could. I got out of the habit after college, mostly because there weren't blood drives in buildings I walked through all the time.

I started going more regularly in the last couple of years.  Yay! The Red Cross now calls me every two months to schedule an appointment and there are two donation centers convenient to me, so I don't really have an excuse.

That is, until my iron levels started dropping inexplicably. They weren't dangerously low, just too low to donate. I upped my iron intake - supplements, leafy greens, broccoli, beef, and so on. I even started drinking more OJ (Vitamin C helps you absorb iron) and decreased my caffeine intake. Caffeine is bad for iron, an even though I don't drink a ton anyway, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

After a few iron fails, it finally worked! I'm still just barely passing the iron test, but it's passing! And maybe I get really excited about it every time I pass.

But there are still other questions I have to answer correctly to be eligible to donate. Now that I've been to Egypt, there's a new set of questions. "Have you been to Africa?"  "Yes." "Where?" "Egypt."  "Where in Egypt?" "Cairo and Alexandria." And then Cairo is on the approved list, but Alexandria isn't on either list so the tech has to go find a supervisor and ask them.  It also seems to matter HOW I traveled in Egypt. Train is acceptable, so I'm still in the clear.  If I'd never been to Africa, I could answer no and save myself five minutes.

If only I could do that with all the sex questions.  "Have you ever had sex?" "No." And then we'd move on. Of course, at my age, it would probably be followed with a "Really?" Really.

Still, it's a small inconvenience to answer all those questions to get to the point where I can help save some lives. Today, I passed the iron text (12.7!) and all the other questions.

Then, I found out that when I've had 2.3 liters of water to drink prior to my donation, my veins are a little juicy. Check out that blood spatter!

If you're eligible to donate blood, do it! Give blood - get cookies. What could be better?